The saga of every single Lebanese official being above the law they’re supposed to safeguard continues. This time, the culprit is the prized son of Qobayet Hadi Hobeish, an MP with the Future Movement, who is destroying the beautiful nature of his hometown just so he can get road access to his mansion.
Qobayet – Hadi Hobeish’s village – is one of Lebanon and Akkar’s largest towns. It’s also famed for having one of Akkar’s most pristine and well-preserved green spaces, which is known as the Ammou’a. The following are pictures from that site and it’s as gorgeous as you can imagine:
Qammou3a Akkar – 1
Qammou3a Akkar – 2
It wouldn’t be hard to imagine MP Hobeish destroying these reserves as well if it meant having easier access to his mansion.
The irony starts with other inhabitants of the region being refused by the Lebanese government to have the privilege that it bestowed upon MP Hobeish in order for them to have access to their homes as well, forcing them to end up paying for long and winding roads instead.
What our parliament member did, however, was get the government to issue a decree (numbered 8880) which “legalized” a road through an entire hill in Qobayet upon which he wanted to build his mansion, with the approval of the ministries of environment and agriculture, of course.
The result of the destruction in pictures is as follows:
Hadi Hobeish Qobayet Forest – 1
Hadi Hobeish Akkar Qobayet – 2
The above document from the Ministry of Agriculture allowed the MP to cut down: 295 pine trees, 578 Oak trees and 55 Pistacia trees. All of the trees that he was allowed to cut down were thousands of years old. The fact of the matter is, however, that he didn’t only cut down those but he destroyed thousands more in order to build his mansion and make the road as efficient as possible.
The end result is a Lebanese MP getting what he wants, destroying an entire forest in doing so, and the Lebanese government not only letting him do that but almost rolling down the red carpet for such an atrocity to take place.
Hadi Hobeish pretends to want what’s best for his hometown, which is why he throws around annual summer festivals bringing in Lebanese singers who wouldn’t visit that area otherwise. When the attention cools down, however, he proceeds to do what everyone else does and bend the laws at his will, destroy whatever he can destroy in order for him to have his way.
Not only did MP Hobeish destroy the forest, but he did it using governmental money because the decree stipulated that the road needed to be done for “public reasons.”
The road only leads to his house.
Welcome to the jungle.
If we had lived in a slightly more civilized country, an MP committing such a scandal wouldn’t only end up with him being forced to resign, it ends up with him being thrown in jail. Not only is the area that MP Hobeish destroyed extremely ecologically important, but it’s also one of Lebanon’s remaining few places of preserved forest lands.
This is yet another disgrace to add to the constant transgressions by Lebanese officials, especially Northern ones, to the land they’re supposed to upkeep. The sadder part is that you have Walid Joumblat vacationing in Europe, tweeting all kinds of pictures making fun of how Lebanon pales in comparison to the countries he’s visiting, while his own minister approved the eradication of a huge forest in his home country.
The most heartbreaking part about all of this is that nothing can be done. It’s a circle of mafia that enables each other, benefitting from the fact that it can never be challenged, as it pretends to run a country.